On Friday the Cambridge Crier (free local paper) published an article with the emotive headline “Illegal punts face ‘trespass’ action.” The article contained a number of factual inaccuracies and this morning we telephoned them to speak to the journalist to query these. The inaccuracies are as follows:
- The punts (boats) are not illegal, they all have commercial licences from the Cam conservators and insurance to allow them to be used on the river.
- The council has set aside a budget of £10000 (capital expenditure). The income from the licences is expected to cover the running costs of the station and provide an income for the council. The council have not set aside a budget of £40000 to run the station over a 3 year period. See Service Plans and draft Budgets 2008/09 pages 17, 38, 55 & 56
- The Scudamores lease on the La Mimosa station expires at the end of this year (2008) according to the article.
“6.3 The latest Licence Agreement between the City Council and Scudamore’s Punting Company Limited was completed on 17 May 2005 for the Licence Period 1 March up to and including 31 October in years 2005, 2006 and 2007. The Licence terminated on 31 October 2007. However, because of a challenge over the status of the agreement the City Council is seeking possession of the landing stage through the Courts.” taken from Punt Operation in the City of Cambridge
However despite highlighting these inaccuracies Laura Jean Morris, who wrote the article, claimed that it was accurate and balanced and declined the opportunity for an interview to present the independent punt operators side of things.